The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Guidance Tartine vs FWSY levain % and proof

LauraJP's picture

Guidance Tartine vs FWSY levain % and proof

I'd love some guidance thinking about ways to use FWSY recipes, that use more standard approaches to proofing. I know Forkish it trying to push the envelope in the interest of more flavor, and possibly b/c he suspects homebakers tend to underproof? I've baked all my efforts, and my husband actually likes the flavor and crust of the more proofed (overproofed) batches. BUT I want to hone my skills and get better at reading my bulk rise. So, I'd love any guidance. 

I have read Tartine but haven't yet baked the Country Loaf. I notice that Tartine has 20% levain, where FWSY uses 12 in the straight hybrid. Forkish says he likes to use less to allow longer ferment. 

Forkish calls for straight levain breads to nearly triple in size. I haven't seen that suggestion anywhere else in my reading. 

So, to continue using his recipes: Do I go for the 50-60% volume increase commonly suggested? Do I try backing off the triple and see what happens?  

Honestly, I'd love to see a video from someone who is using his recipes and shows a picture how what the bulk ferment looks like in the Cambro containers he recommends. Learning to read the bulk is hardest for me, and he doesn't simply it!

WatertownNewbie's picture

Welcome to TFL.

Photos always help me, and I put together a couple of blog posts.  Here is a bake of a Tartine bread:

Here is a bake of a Forkish bread:

People have various ways of judging when the bulk fermentation is finished and the dough is ready to be pre-shaped.  I suspect that my view has shifted over time, and there is probably no simple or right answer.  Judging that stage is definitely part of the art (rather than science) of baking.

Happy baking (and stay safe).


LauraJP's picture

that's excellent documentation of the process! I can't tell exactly from photos, but it does look as though your dough doubled with the FWSY recipe (not sure if it makes a diff that it is yeast and not starter/levain)? So, perhaps I'll push my bulk more with that. 

PuffPacey's picture

I have found just following Forkish to the T results in fantastic bread.  My tartine loaves, not so much.  My problems have been with under proofing (I think).  Ultimately, I believe my house is much cooler than the proof temps in Chad's book, but he does comment on that in the book.

For some foolish reason I thought the long proof time in the fridge would make up for my under proofed bulk doesn't.  Part of the fun of baking is screwing up, at least for me.  Unless, it is pizza not coming off the peel.

Perhaps someone could explain why too short a bulk fermentation results in reduced rise in final proof in the fridge.  My Forkish breads keep puffing up overnight in the bannetons, but the Tartine did not.  I'm guessing because of my too short bulk time.  

In any case, I'm trying Tartine again today and am going to really let the dough tell me when I'm done with bulk this time.  In each of my failures (I've tried twice) I have intuited that I shaped too soon.

Good luck with your endeavors.

LauraJP's picture

Yeah, not sure why getting further in bulk would promote higher rise in loafs? Other than i think the fermentation process speeds with increasing speed as time in, more happens towards end. And it takes the dough a while too cool and slow the fermentation in speed. So if you're further along in process, more will continue to happen in fridge? Total guess.